60 simply perfect gifts for artists

It can be hard to find the right gifts for artists in your family. We canvased the University of North Carolina School of the Arts campus and talked with  Dance, Drama, Design & Production, Filmmaking and Music students about gifts they had received and ones they are adding to their list this season. 

Gifts for Musicians

A trip to the Vienna State Opera House
“They have a Mozart tour you can take,” Omarius Credle, a sophomore voice student says. “You can really get an understanding of the history of great works and musicians.”

A record player
High School junior piano student Audrey Puschinsky says music students would enjoy a record player with USB ports for playing music from your iPhone, iPad or smartphone.

Gift Card to Sheet Music Plus
“I got a $50 gift card to Sheet Music Plus,” responds junior organist Carina Sturdy when asked what her favorite gift was. Proving her point, the five pieces of music she was carrying on campus cost about $200.

Time with family
“We are so isolated because we spend so much time practicing alone that I really want time with family,” says Devann Boyd is a sophomore voice student.

Tickets for a show at the Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolian Opera

The Metropolitan Opera in New York City presents concerts, operas and ballets. © Metropolitan Opera House

Wireless earbuds
Freshman bassist Solomon Caldwell uses them frequently, so replacements are always appreciated.

Recording microphone
Kyra Monsam, a junior clarinetist in high school, suggests a Blue Yeti recording microphone.

Acrylic yarn and sewing needles
You may not think yarn and drums go together, but high school senior percussionist Katie Spade says acrylic yarn and sewing needles from a craft shop are useful when wrapping mallets.

A really nice bow
John Park, a high school sophomore bassist, says a really nice bow would be a great gift for most string instrumentalists.

Pack of strings
College senior bassist Emani Barber suggests strings for any string-instrument musicians. They are constantly in need of replacement.

Musical scores
“Bärenreiter scores are the exact marking, or rather as accurate as possible, to what Beethoven and other composers wrote,” graduate conducting student Daniel Bukin says.

Voice Sheet Music for vocalists
High school junior in voice Veronica Siebert would like books of song music. Like most musicians, anything to help students continue their practice is appreciated. In summary, Siebert says, “Art is expensive.”

Gifts for Dancers

Foam rollers
“Sometimes it will be the only thing that can help you make it through the day,” confesses Catey Vera, a high school sophomore dance student.

Suffolk Foam Roller

Foam Roller © DanceSupplies.com

Jet Glue
High School junior ballerina Katie Drozd wouldn’t mind receiving a bottle of Jet Glue, which helps strengthen pointe shoes.

Dance belt
Freshman contemporary dancer William Thompson suggest a dance belt, which is similar to an athletic cup, but for dancers.

Arch Genie
Another dancer’s secret came from high school freshman Deontae Melvin. He says an Arch Genie or stretch bands are helpful.

Bullet Pointe Skirts
College sophomore ballerina Kristen Sumrell suggests Bullet Pointe skirts or Capezio® tights and leg warmers.

Stage Makeup
Belle Powell, high school ballet dancer, offers stage makeup as a potential gift idea.

Hot Chocolate
College sophomore Anna Martz, a contemporary dancer, would like warm things like hot chocolate or warm, fuzzy, cuddly items like socks – or a puppy.

Fuzzy socks
Ballerina Abby Quarles, also a college sophomore, is all about the fuzzy socks.

Tickets to a show at Radio City Music Hall
Kaylin Thistle, a high school senior in contemporary dance, says that seeing Cats on Broadway was a memory she’ll treasure. She also really liked seeing a show at Radio City Music Hall. If she traveled abroad: “The Netherlands Dans Theatre would be amazing to see!” Thistle says.

Gifts for Actors or Directors

Anything from the Drama Book Shop
Junior acting student Grace Parker recommends anything from The Drama Book Shop in New York City. “The store is wall-to-wall of plays,” Parker explains.

Freshman directing student Carlo Feliciani would like magazines, notebooks and plays.“The more I read, the more I learn,” Feliciani says.

Photo Shoot. Photo by David Hillegas

Part of the tools for the trade for actors is to have a current headshot.

Headshot photo shoot
Eliza Kelley, a high school senior who will be auditioning for college drama schools, says help in paying for headshots would truly be a gift.

Shakespeare Coffee Mugs
Junior acting student Andrew Hollinger would love plays, movies and films. Tickets to plays are also welcome. He once received Shakespeare coffee mugs that he says he still treasures.

Online Streaming subscription: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Instant Video
Actors and directors are hungry to watch  people doing their craft. Think about getting your budding star a steaming subscription.

Blank notebooks
Eleanor Bellamy, a senior directing student, recommends blank notebooks because she loves to write. “Also, new music, books or plays – anything that will advance your vocabulary,” Bellamy says.

Rehearsal skirts or Character shoes
Junior Hannah Myers says Bloch character shoes and rehearsal skirts are on her wish list, as well as a subscription to the New York Times.  

Emergen-C drink mix
Emergen-C drink mixes are good stocking suffers. “If anyone gets sick around here, we all chug Emergen-C because no one wants to be sick and miss a performance,” Myers says.

Backstage.com subscriptionTickets to Broadway showsGift Cards
Junior Devin Kessler suggests a subscription to Backstage.com, a chance to see a Broadway show and gift cards to stores. “Even a gift card to Target, where I could find a nice top for a headshot, would be wonderful,” Kessler says.

Tervis® Tumbler
High school senior Catherine Davis says she enjoys her Tervis tumbler. Not only does it help keep her hydrated in her dance or acting classes, but it is customizable.

Warm, black sweater
High school senior Marcella Cox says because drama students need to wear so much black that anything black – but especially a warm black sweater – is on her list.

Plays from SamuelFrench.com
Nathan Kowalczyk, a high school senior, recommends plays from SamuelFrench.com.

Gifts for painters, designers, technical theater artists

X-Acto blades and masking tape
For high school junior visual arts student Zane Drees, it is the simple things artists want: masking tape, X-Acto blades or “interesting material that I can put into my art.”

Canvases and drawing paper
Sarah Sims, another junior in the visual arts program, also asked for the basics: money for supplies, canvases, paper.

Visits from family
Leo Morello is a freshman studying Stage Management, which means he juggles many different pieces of a show. “My favorite gift was a visit from my grandma,” Morello says. “We get so wrapped up here that family doesn’t always make it to the top of the list.”

Ultimate Focus Tool
Jack Lewis, a freshman lighting student, showed off his Ultimate Focus Tool as a prized possession.

Trip to the International Thespian Festival
For freshmen Stage Management students Maura Wetzel and Nina Walker, a paid trip to the International Thespian Festival in Nebraska was the ticket to opening many doors for them. “You can have college auditions there,” Wetzel says. “Between me and a friend, we had 75 callbacks.”

Backstage of the Nutcracker

The International Thespian Festival is a great resource for artists who work behind-the-scenes.

Gifts for Filmmakers

Ratchet Set
Senior cinematographer Ryan Morris says a ratchet set is a worthwhile gift. “You can use it to repair anything on a set so it doesn’t stop production,” Morris says.

Sekonic light meter
Freshman Ian Price agrees with Morris about the ratchet set, as well as wrench set—but don’t forget the Sekonic light meter and gaffer tape.

Super 8 film cartridges
Senior Torin Bradshaw was a bit more nostalgic. He suggests Super 8 film cartridges – like the kind used in old home movies. “It makes it look like time travel,” Bradshaw says.

Prepping film

Film students might appreciate practical gifts that can be used on set. 

Director's film clapboard and On-board monitor
Sophomore Brooke Hyland suggests an that attach a on-board monitor that attached to cameras and a slate or a director’s film clapboard for gift ideas. “I told my dad I was going to have a lot of unusual items on my Amazon Wish List so I can start my gear bag,” Hyland says.

UNCSA apparel and goods
From the classic black and white t-shirts or hoodies to branded accessories, your artist will enjoy some UNCSA-branded items.

Shop online and support other artists

When you connect your Amazon account with the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Foundation, Inc. at Amazon Smile, Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to support the school’s mission of training talented aspiring artists.

Amazon Smile

December 16, 2016